In The News

Warming Pacific releases methane equivalent to Deepwater Horizon spill each year

The ocean keeps secrets from surface to seafloor, and some even deeper still. A group of researchers from University of Washington discovered one such secret by accident — and their findings could change the scientific world’s understanding of climate change and its relation to the Pacific. “In 2013, we were preparing for a research expedition that had nothing to do with this,” said Evan Solomon, assistant professor of oceanography at UW. “We wanted to get a long-term record of bottom water temperature variability.” The team gathered conductivity, temperature and depth profiles off the Washington coast. A comparison with other research quickly revealed a long-term trend of warming in the area.

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Stanford scientists map saltwater threat to California aquifers

Researchers from Stanford University and the University of Calgary are working to map saltwater intrusion along the coast of California’s Monterey Bay, according to a Stanford release . They’re using a method called electrical resistivity tomography, or ERT. The scientists place electrodes into sand and then pump tiny impulses of electricity through connecting wires. As the current spreads underground, they then measure the voltage between electrodes, and transfer that measurement into a calculation of resistance. Since saltwater has a much lower electrical resistivity, scientists can accurately map saltwater intrusion for aquifers in the area. Full results of the mapping effort are expected to be available in 2015.

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Scripps scientists replicate sea spray environment in the lab

According to a Scripps Institute of Oceanography press release , Scripps scientists at the University of California, San Diego, have replicated an ocean aerosol environment in the lab. The researchers explored how small pieces of biological material churning at the ocean’s surface impact clouds, climate and the atmosphere. Experiments were conducted in a specially created ocean-atmosphere wave facility. Scientists and students dosed seawater with nutrients, then churned up the phytoplankton bloom that resulted into a sea spray. Some of the resulting biological particles were expected to become the building blocks of clouds, as water vapor could cling to the particles. The particles could also serve as seeds for ice crystal formation.

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